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Along Aquitaine’s Rivers with Uniworld’s River Royale
Part 1

By Nancy & Eric Anderson
Photography by Authors

niworld’s cruise from Bordeaux had already started when we arrived a day late at Bordeaux airport. We were flying Vueling Air to Bordeaux through Barcelona the same day the river cruise was due to begin. Our problem was a learning experience: Vueling, a low-cost European airline – for mechanical reasons – canceled its flight (the last one of the day out of Barcelona) leaving us with a taxi fare of 150 euros the next day. The boat had sailed.

The other lessons on this river cruise were easier to swallow: History lessons about castles and fortresses and vineyards and farmers’ markets. It was all there on our river cruise around Bordeaux in southwest France. River cruising as a European phenomenon shows no signs of letting up. Companies in the field (or rather in the river) report extraordinary loyalty amongst their clientele. This form of cruising is the perfect choice for those with a sense of history and small town living who enjoy the comfort of the typical cruise where passengers travel but unpack only once. It was our seventh river cruise with Uniworld.

the River Royale

The baggage carousel reminded us Bordeaux was Big in the world of wine. We had sailed on the River Royale before and here it is waiting for us in the twilight in Pauillac on the west bank of the Gironne estuary.

location map of Bordeaux and one of Uniworld's impressive coaches

Aquitaine is bounded on the south by the Pyrenees Mountain and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Two rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne form the Gironde estuary which drains into the Atlantic. The largest sand dunes in Europe are found here. The land mass near Bordeaux is flat and in some parts the ground surface is not solid enough for high rise buildings. Thus most of the buildings have been undisturbed for a long time; nobody wanted to disturb the status quo. But if the buildings are old, Uniworld’s impressive coaches are not, they are new and state of the art with wide viewing windows and great acoustics and sound systems -- and big comfortable seats. Uniworld ordered them with fewer seats than most touring companies thought necessary because it knew the preferences of upscale tourists.

exterior and interior shots of Uniworld's coaches and the River Royale

Surely the river boat was more important than any coach but it was surprising how welcome the coaches became in our shore excursions. They would turn up at the end of a shore tour like a homing pigeon – constantly on time. There was always plenty of room, the air-conditioning would already be in effect and coming back to our boat, our home for the week, to receive a cool wet towel and a cold drink made us all feel almost paternalistic to the Uniworld staff.

River Royale's Captain Ludovic Mercier and the sundeck; inset shows cabin attendant with drink

Uniworld’s River Royale is 361 feet long and 37.5 feet wide. Cabins have both 110 and 220 voltage. It carries 130 passengers. We check out the sundeck which now has, we notice, bicycles and Nordic walking poles but we pass on the monster chess board. We meet the captain, Ludovic Mercier. It’s a warm day and a cabin attendant comes up to ask what we’d like to drink.

a docked River Royale; white orchids

The River Royale has white orchids everywhere – and they are always fresh. The boat is very handsome. We sailed on her in 2008 two years after her inauguration but she has been remodeled this year and looks very elegant. New to us on this boat, but not to the industry, is what it calls Signature Dining. This began on ocean liners as a market response to passengers’ wishes for open dining and their dislike of two seating times for dinner at sea. When cruise lines tried to spread the load around the ship by creating new fancy restaurants (which brought in more revenue) wait staff found it had lost its bonding with diners who formerly ate always at the same table and even same seats. And when the special relationship guests had with staff was lost their tipping shrank also. The answer: include gratuities in the total price.

Uniworld realized before other river boat cruise lines that older guests resented the nickel and diming some lines imposed to increase their bottom line. Its cruises are truly all-inclusive. The one price includes all gratuities onboard and onshore, all scheduled airport transfers, all shore excursions, all beverages including specialty coffees, alcohol including wine at lunch and dinner. We were curious about this. Would passengers ruin a good idea by over-consuming? Actually no. And we were curious about staff, too. Cocktails were supposedly covered; would a Uniworld waiter weasel in with a request for a cabin number for a gin and tonic in the lounge because it was not drunk during the meal itself but before it. No. No tricks, it’s genuine. And internet and Wi-Fi access is complimentary, too.

Those who never ocean-cruised in the not-so-old days may not have experienced the times when the captain threw a welcoming event for the opportunity to wave to pier observers as a ship headed out to sea and stewards came by with their pink drinks and little umbrellas and an assistant to get signatures and cabin numbers. And quite recently, we’ve been on board a ship where all we can remember was, as passengers headed out into a steaming humid shore excursion, we had to exchange our cabin number for a large $5 bottle of Perrier.

So a genuine all-inclusive cruise fare is really, really huge news.

One evening Adrian the cruise manager plays an interesting game of Hands Up Those Who have Sailed with Uniworld Before! Fascinating! About three quarters of the room raise their hands. Uniworld really retains its customers! Adrian then becomes methodical: Who has sailed twice before? A lot of hands go up. Three, four…five? Six, seven; we’re not sure which we are. Seven, we raise our hands. That’s it. He goes to eight. Nobody. Nine? No. Adrian knows something. He gets to 15 and pauses and a couple from, it turns out Orlando, raise their hands. That was tops on this cruise. After dinner we approach them tentatively; “Yes, we’re on a cruise but we are, at heart, travel writers.”

We ask the couple, “Fifteen cruises with Uniworld. Why?” and get the earnest answer, “Uniworld service. They can’t do enough for passengers.”

“Because they know you have done 15 cruises with them? we suggest. “Not at all,” they emphatically reply. “They are constant, it’s been like that from the beginning.” They had tried the competition but never went back. “So many of its river boats are being built every year that we notice their staff is not as well trained as Uniworld’s. How could it be?”

We ask if we might photograph them and quote their names. We are rebuffed. “Hey!” he says with a grin, “You may be taking a trip but we are on vacation.”

scene from Bourg: the River Royale at Bourg, historic windmills and Blaye Fortress

On our initial shore excursions we visit Bourg, a medieval village; historic windmills and Blaye Fortress itself built in the 17th century by the famous military engineer Vauban. The fortress is a UNESCO monument.

scenes from St. Emilion including the interior of the rock church of Saint Emilion

St. Emilion created great interest among the passengers who knew more about its history than we did. Its history is indeed involved. The Benedictine monk Emilian was the financial advisor to a French count. A Breton, he apparently chose to give some of his owner’s bread to hungry poor people and lost his position. Bread was guarded like gold in medieval homes and actually locked up to prevent theft by servants. (That’s maybe why Jean Valjean was considered such a criminal in Les Miserables: he stole bread for his family). Emilian came to this town perched on a limestone hill in the 8th century and carved space for his home into a cave. Other Benedictine monks joined him and when he died in 787 the group stayed and for 300 years dug into the limestone to create one of the largest monolithic churches in France. The rock church of Saint Emilion is dark and gloomy and photography almost impossible which may be how the town fathers want it to continue.

In other respects the town, about 22 miles northeast of Bordeaux, is a photographer’s delight. Here in the 2nd century was the first vineyard planted by the Romans. The monks who followed Emilian continued winemaking and even made it a commercial success. Visitors seemingly come with two interests, Bordeaux wine making – interest in wine may be at an all-time high. Others come with little interest in wine but out of personal devotion to or interest in the Saint, Emilian. However, guide after guide in Europe remarks how church attendance is the opposite of wine interest, it’s at an all-time low. Those are not just travel guides in Protestant Germany but guides in Catholic France. One told us in Provence that in some areas the only time young people are in church is when they get married! Saint Emilion, indeed, got headlines in November 2011 when the mayor sold the 14th century Cordeliers Cloisters for 750.000 euros to a sparkling wine company.

scenes from Bergerac including its canting and half-timbered buildings and portrayals of Cyrano

Bergerac was different: we knew the story about Cyrano – and the town was more than ready to tell us about him if we needed more information! Bergerac, a wine producing town lies just outside the line of the Bordeaux appellation so it is not at first glance recognized for the quality of its wines. On the river Dordogne, Bergerac was most photogenic from its farmers market and its canting and half-timbered buildings to its portrayals of Cyrano.

the River Royale at Cadillac, the town's castle and the interior of the palace's apartments showing hanging tapestries and a fireplace

Cadillac came as a surprising delight. We had not heard much about this walled, river-port town even though it’s been around since 1280 – and a local boy gave its name to one of America’s most prestigious automobiles and even founded the city of Detroit. This is the place to learn about Sauternes, a sweet wine because it has been affected “and improved” by the fungus, Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot. We chose an alternative option and visited the rather stark castle or palace. Construction started in 1599 but it was turned into a women’s prison in 1820 through 1952. The apartments when it was a residence are now essentially unfurnished but have superlative hanging tapestries and magnificent French fireplaces.

entertainment aboard the River Royale

Entertainment on board includes lectures and house entertainment. The chefs all have their specialty interests; ours was the one in the center who made all the deserts! Our question now after all those great shore excursions is will the city of Bordeaux itself be as interesting – and that’s our next story.

Part 2 follows.

Related Articles:

Thoughts About Les Hommes Français; Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination; The Ideal Cruise? A River Runs Through It; Art Ancient and Contemporary In Southwestern France; Rouen, the Port of Paris; In the Footsteps of the Dukes of Burgundy


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Tell Eric what you think of his article.
In the meantime, here are some of the feedback we have already received:


Hey Eric and Nancy! As a fellow Traveling Boy journalist, and as a confirmed WW2 aficionado, just wanted you to know how much I loved your story on Arnhem. Really great stuff, and truly brilliant riveting writing.

I’ve been there twice and covered it on my KNX radio show when I was on LA radio, and your story and evocative photos brought back a ton of wonderful and poignant memories. This could have been an amazingly brilliant military operation – as you both know – that might well have ended the War in Europe maybe a year earlier. However, allied misreading -- and in my view disregarding certain aspects of the situation in Holland -- plus the fact that they dropped the paras over 3 days and not in one huge assault at night (and not in the day as they did) doomed the mission to failure.

Your clever words and great photos brought all this graphically to life, and it should be required reading for anyone interested in any aspect of WW2, and certainly should be read by today’s teenagers. Again Bravo and well done!!!!

John Clayton
Travel with A Difference

We just couldn't leave your website before saying that we genuinely enjoyed the high quality information you offer for your visitors... Would be back frequently to check up on new stuff you post!

Raanana

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What a fantastic write-up!

I could almost copy and paste most of your narrative verbatim as it reflects our fantastic experience with Fantasy Cruises almost to a tee. It was truly one of the greatest vacations my girlfriend and I have ever experienced.

Cheers!
Mike Richard, Editor, Vagabondish.com

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One of my dreams is to go to Alaska by way of cruise. This article very much intensifies the longing for that dream to come to fruition. I simply cannot wait much longer. And I will never again be able to think of a waterfall without picturing myself "nosing up" to it. Thank you for this intriguing, virtual journey.

Sandra Mines, Seattle, WA

Thank you for writing, Sandra. Alaska really is a wondrous place. Re "Nosing up" to a waterfall: we have a different article up at Physician's Money Digest on the same cruise (Small Ship Cruising: Alaska by the Back Door). The third last set of images there shows a crew member filling a jug of ice water from a waterfall while standing in the bow of the ship! Best wishes. Get there! To Alaska one day.

Eric & Nancy

Loved your photos from Alaska! Because I am the Director of Sales & Marketing for Westmark Hotels, I am up in AK and the Yukon quite often to visit our hotels and staff! But your pictures were so enjoyable-love to see the "real" Alaskans!

Heidi Howeiler, Seattle, WA

Hi Ms. Howeiler, That was kind of you to write and yes, you do see real people in Alaska, don't you? Alaskans always remind us off rural Texans or Australians in the isolated Red Centre of their country: hard working, sensible, rolled-up-sleeves people with no affectations. We love your Westmark hotels and we take our hats off to the person who started your company, Chuck West. What a great guy!

Eric & Nancy

Enjoyed your realistic and practical comments on Provence. Always wanted to go there ever since reading Peter Mayle's 2 books on Provence. But the two times I went to France, time was always short, so we spent our days in Paris. And now you say, it is losing its unique charm to tourism. (Sigh). It's always a choice between sharing beauty, and keeping it hidden. The world lurches on. Thanks for your thoughts.

Dette, Iligan City, Philippines

Hi Dette, (Would love to see all your waterfalls), Thank you for writing. Provence is busy in the tourist season but it hasn't lost all its charm or the quirkiness Mayle talks about in his book Provence A to Z. It's still a place to visit. Appreciate hearing from you. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

What a great article, especially regarding Louis XIV. I was not aware there was a contemporary account of his execution. It was fascinating. Thank you!

Celtic fan, Nashua, MA

Dear Celtic fan, Thanks for writing. I didn't know about the account of his execution either till I stumbled upon it. Sad to think that the French revolutionaries thought they could be both judge and jury. We are lucky to have a more elegant system today. Thanks for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nancy and Eric,

Enjoyed reading your article on Santa Fe, NM. I was in AZ travel nursing in 2008 and 2009 and made it to Santa Fe. Took a lot of pics and really loved walking around the old town while I was there. Hope to be able to take the wife there in the future.

Brett Eidson, Soso, MS

Hi dude! Nice to see your site. It's beautiful. My congratulations.

New York

Hi New York, Thank you for writing. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

Hi www.travelingboy.com! Your web-site is very interesting and I want to tell www.travelingboy.com G'night.

New York

Dear New York,

Thank you for writing. Glad you find the site interesting. We are here for you. Keep visiting.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

This is all genuine. I will return to scan.

Keflavik

Hi Keflavik, Thank you for writing. We are happy you will return.

Eric & Nancy

Good article.

On Behalf Of Diane, Port Ludlow, WA

Thanks for writing from Port Ludlow. We hear that's a beautiful place. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

When I was hurt in a boat accident my life would be changed totally. I really don't post much but thanks for the good times I have here. Love this place. Long time lurker, thought I would say hello!

Miami

Dear Miami, Thanks for writing. It's nice to hear from you. Hope you are getting better. Glad you get some good times at Traveling boy. Good luck.

Eric & Nancy

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Dear friends,

My name is Adelina. I am a 22 years girl from Italy. I was looking for a free translation software and I found one. Program's name is Babel Fish and it supports 75 languages. I installed it but I could not understand how to use it. I am not a computer expert. Can someone help me please on how to run this.The link is here :http://access.im/3/babelfish. I thank you very much for your help.

Adelina, Celaya

Adelina, I didn't want to download it but I saw examples online. It seemed easy. You select the page you want translated, copy it and paste it into the box. You then click on the button to translate. You may have to do one page at a time. You can also use Google to translate a page; that's what I do because I don't want to load too much software.

Eric & Nancy

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Amiable brief and this mail helped me a lot in my college assignment. Thanks you seeking your information.

WordPress Themes, Gray Mountain

We are glad to have been of help. Best wishes.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

What's up everyone? Great forum. Lots of lovely people. Just what I need. Hopefully this is just what i'm looking for. Looks like I have a lot to read.

Spanish John, Benidrom

Encouraging to get your feedback. Glad to hear from you. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

Nice dispatch (http://www.travelingboy.com/travel-eric.html) - and this enter helped me a lot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Gray Mountain

Hi Gray Mountain,

Thank you for your comment. Your email reminds us all at TravelingBoy how important it is to be accurate in what we write. Good luck with your studies and have a great life.

Eric & Nancy

* * * * *

Hello people, I just signed up on this splendid community forum and wanted to say hey there! Have a wonderful day!

Jacksonville

Hi Jacksonville, We are pleased to hear from new readers at TravelingBoy. Your feedback encourages us all to do better. Thank you for writing.

Eric & Nancy

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What a fascinating bit of Russian history you wrote about! How sad to learn that 100,000 churches were reduced to create skating rinks and such during the revolution, after seeing the photo of the interior of a magnificent church filled with art! War is so devastating on so many levels! The art of their culture is so beautiful as is shown in the image of the painted box! Thank you,

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

Dear Yoka,

Thank you for writing. Nancy is originally Lutheran and Eric is a dour Scot, more used to the frequently cold and often cheerless churches of his native land so we were both overwhelmed to see the beauty of Russian churches. It was kind of you to write, Yoka.

Thank you,
Eric & Nancy

Interesting observations.... Very informative and thought provoking. Questions.... What would be the best way to get from Moscow Airport DME to boat dock? taxi? prearranged limo? prepaid Viking Tours transfer? Any idea on cost and travel time for taxi or limo or Viking Cruise pickup from airport to boat? We shall be flying to Moscow on our own. Do you happen to have an address for the river boat dock that Viking Cruises uses in Moscow? I would be nice to Google map the situation. Thanks,

Robert Hopwood, Ottawa, Canada

Hi Bob,

Excuse the delay; we were on a trip. I do understand your question and will try and get you an answer. The Viking river dock in Moscow was for us in the north part of the city but once we were on the boat it was an easy ten minute walk to the Metro station that had us downtown within 30 minutes. I'm a lot more relaxed at the end of a trip than at the beginning and therefore I always feel taking the cruise-line sponsored trip from the airport to the dock makes sense: What starts right usually ends right.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Hi Bob,

I’m back with more information. The river port’s address is Northern River Boat Station Leningradsky Prospekt, Khimki. If you Google that you will see it is about 15 minutes’ walk from two Metro stations. http://www.aptouring.com.au/files/documents/17/29022_Moscow2.pdf .

I spoke to Nancy at customer relations at Viking Cruises at the new LNR Warner Center in 5700 Canoga Avenue, Woodland Hills, Calif.

She was very helpful and advises you to take the Viking transportation service. She is biased, of course, but she’s right. Moscow DME airport is 40 miles away on the opposite side of the city, at least two hours driving time. The airport has no Metro station; you’d have to take the Aeroexpress train to Paveletsky station then change to the Metro and go to Rechnoy Vokzal station then take a cab to the port. A cab all the way from DME would cost at least 2000 rubles (more than $70). That’s less than the $60 each that Viking would charge…but…I think you’d be ill-advised to do it on your own. Why start the trip where the potential to screw up is so likely? Moscow taxi drivers are as dishonest as most tourist city cab drivers and probably yours won’t speak English. I think the address in Russian is

BUT...

I strongly discourage you from economizing on this and doing it on your own. Buy the transfer and save money somewhere else.

We have other Viking Volga web articles up at http://travelingboy.com/archive-travel-eric-russia.html and at http://www.ericandersonsworld.com/story.php?id=6LvDg.

Good luck. Great show Canada’s putting on for the Olympics!

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Reseller Hosting, London

Hi, Is it Britni Freeman?

Thank you, we think... We suspect your comments are valid. In fact we think all of us writing for TravelingBoy are starting to get into the swing of things and do a better job -- and your encouragement spurs us to do even better. Thank you for writing. Have a good 2010,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

Dear Nancy and Eric

Thank you so much for the wonderful article on statues in Europe. Statues are my favorite art form and your descriptions were delightful to read - knowledge and fun together. I do still wonder about that foot in Rome...

Peggy - Pasadena, CA

Hi Peggy,

Thank you for writing. We appreciate your comments. We used to be critical of people who can't identify the persons on statues in foreign cities -- until one day a tourist stopped us in our own San Diego and asked us, in vain, for details on a statue we'd never noticed before! We wonder about that Roman foot too. If Eric had stood any closer he'd be in his typical foot-in-mouth position.

Eric & Nancy Anderson

I live in Santa Fe and see and delight in it every day, but your writing makes it sparkle even more. How nice to see Santa Fe through your eyes. Great photos!

Cynthia Whitney-Ward - Santa Fe, NM

Dear Dr. Anderson:

I have followed your writing career for as long as I can remember, and I think the thing I enjoy the most about your travel writing is the sense of joy and discovery that leads the reader to anticipate ever corner you turn in your travels.What a delightful traveling companion you are, and I know have always been, with that wonderfully eternally youthful joie de vivre...I wonder:do you feel that East, West, home is best? And where IS that place you have never been, but want to go most of all,yet? Bring we, your devoted readers ever along!

CAT -- San Diego (Scrips Ranch), CA

Dear CAT,

Thank for taking the time to write to TravelingBoy.com. You are very kind. We don't know that travel writers make the best companions; we suspect they may be obsessed with getting the best photograph or may monopolize the guide with questions so that others don't get to ask what interests them. What place is best? Well, it may be fun to sit in a rickshaw in Beijing or try to master the Metro in Moscow, but -- as you imply -- it is good to get home after trips.

Home is as comfortable as a pair of old shoes and home for many of us fortunately contains family.

We've never been to Easter Island and may have missed the boat (no pun intended) there. The island is losing its innocence; we've seen that happen at Machu Picchu or, closer to home, at Lake Powell in Arizona. So maybe the best travel advice is: Go when you are fit and healthy, before rising prices make a destination inaccessible -- and before hordes of tourists ruin any destination's mystique.

With best Holiday Wishes from Traveling Boy,

Eric & Nancy Anderson

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What a fantastic primer on New York City. I think you have really captured its essence with this exciting overview of its offerings. Well done!

Gillian Abramson - New York

* * * * *

You describe a city on wheels - er, wings - and an absolutely perfect way to travel. SHOWERS & FLOWERS! Amazing! I love that your passion for all-things-aviation comes through in this story about an almost unbelievable airplane. Thanks for breaking the news in such an engaging way!

Richard Frisbie - Saugerties, New York

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Enjoyed your blog on Romania. Noticed you called Bucharest "The Paris of the East." I wonder, is there any city not called "The Paris of something." I've read San Francisco is 'the Paris of the West,' Buenos Aires 'The Paris of South America,' and even Tromso, Norway 'The Paris of the Arctic.'

Terry Cowan - Fresno

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Hi Terry,

Thanks for writing to TravelingBoy. And thanks for educating me; I didn't know that about Tromso, didn't even know there was a Tromso. I heard Bangkok called the Venice of the East when I was there and, in two weeks, I'm heading for the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg, Russia.

It does become a bit silly, doesn't it? But we are originally an immigrant nation that was Eurocentric. Maybe it gave our forefathers confidence even courage when they took old names, old ideas to the New World with them. I know I feel nostalgic if I drive around Ontario, Canada and see all the British place names.

I appreciate your email. Thank you for writing.

Eric

Eric -

Enjoyed your article on Madrid. I noticed that you find it superior to Rome. Most of the Spanish folks that I meet seem to prefer Barcelona. How would you rate that city?

Samuel K
Seattle

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Hi Samuel,

We loved Barcelona although driving around the city was surprisingly complicated as our maps were inadequate. The cathedral had scaffolding around it so I couldn't get the pictures I wanted but we found the architecture fascinating and the Picasso museum rewarding. We were anxious to get on the road to Costa Brava and didn't have more than a couple of days in Barcelona.

Thanks for writing.
Eric


Great article on Madrid. I've heard there is a rivalry between the people of Madrid and Barcelona. In which city are the people friendlier? How about for hipness? I noticed you were Scottish. I felt a similar thing in Scotland, with a Glasgow v. Edinburgh vibe.

Gary
Santa Monica

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Thank you for writing to TravelingBoy, Gary. We found Barcelona friendlier.

Maybe that's because it's not the capital and it's not so busy either. Maybe it's because the Gaudi architectural influence is pervasive and -- to both its citizens and tourists -- comforting. Maybe it's because Barcelona is the gateway to the work of artist Salvatore Dali, and his spirit catches us. (I don't know much about art but I've seen a lot of Dali's work enough to think he never took himself too seriously and often painted tongue in cheek. Maybe fun people spring for fun places?) Hipness? Madrid is more formal and dressy but Barcelona, I believe, is more hip maybe, again, because it's more fun.

Your points about Scotland are valid. It's more than a joke. The Glaswegians are more down to earth. I think we see it here in the belief that if you had a flat tire in Middle America passers-by would be more inclined to stop and help than perhaps New Englanders.

- Eric

Dear Eric,

I liked the article. As I read it, I was wondering how you as a physician were influenced by Hippocrates. What influence did this historical figure have on the practice of medicine beyond the obvious 'oath.' Why is Hippocrates considered to be such a paragon of medicine? DWA - San Pedro, CA

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Dear David,

Thank you for writing to Travelingboy.com.

Hippocrates is revered because he believed his duty was to the individual patient, not to the community at large. This is a very important premise. The Romans, whose empire followed that of the Greeks, achieved much in health matters by emphasizing clean drinking water and personal hygiene, and created great national works like aquaducts and public baths but wealthy Romans apparently preferred Greek doctors as their personal physicians.

Hippocrates is also respected because he brought intellectual thought to diagnosis. He taught his students to use their five senses in assessing patients and was openly critical of the junk science of his day as practiced by the priest-physicians who preyed on the fear and ignorance of the ill persons who came to them.

It is true that not all medical chools today require graduating doctors to take the Hippocratic Oath but most conscientious physicians base their lifetime commitment to the practice of medicine on the life and teachings of that one man.

Or so I think. Perhaps if we knew more about our heroes they would seem less heroic. But in Hippocrates' case he did leave a record of his thoughts and some of his principles are today as strong as ever.

Thank you for writing, it is appreciated.

Eric


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